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What if a Child is Assaulted, Dragged, Struck, or Otherwise Abused at a Day Care Center?

By  David Wolf, Attorney and Samantha Vloedman, Law Clerk

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Blog

Building Blocks - B - Day Care CenterIn New Mexico and other States, children are supervised in day care centers by child care providers who in most facilities provide a safe and loving environment for the children. Unfortunately, there are child care providers out there who simply lack the patience, training, maturity, and proper attitude to serve as child care providers.  Some of these child care providers respond to a child that is crying or otherwise not following instructions by assaulting, dragging, striking, or otherwise abusing the child in the very setting that should be a safe haven for the child.

One mother in Albuquerque, New Mexico recently learned the child care provider her son attended was not the loving and safe environment she once thought. While at the child care center, this mother saw a young child crying. A parent would expect that the child would be comforted. However, to this mother’s surprise, the child care provider simply dragged the crying child by the arm across the floor and put the child in another room. After being dragged by the arm, the child was left in that room.

As any concerned parent would, the mother began wondering whether this had ever happened to her son. While she was asking employees about the incident, she was told by one employee that “[t]his kind of thing happens all the time.” As any concerned parent would, she removed her son from the child care provider and reported the incident to the Children, Youth and Families Department (CFYD).

Dragging a child by the arm is only one of many abuses that children may suffer at a child care provider. There are reported instances of violent rocking of infants, hitting, and abusing children. Unless the child is of an age where the child can speak, it is difficult to know what goes on at child care provider once a parent drops the child off and leaves.

There are steps that a parent can take to try and demystify what happens once the parent leaves the child care provider. The first step is conducting research before registering a child for a child care provider. This research can include checking for reports at the local department of children and families or asking trusted friends and family for recommendations. Another step is to make unannounced visits to the child care provider. When child care providers are aware that a parent is coming to visit or pick up their child, the child care providers will likely be more conscious of their actions and be on their “best behavior.” Finally, when a parent witnesses abuse of a child, whether it is their own child or the child of another, at a child care provider, the parent should report the abuse to the appropriate agency, such as the local department of children and families.

Keeping their children safe is the priority of most parents. Taking the appropriate steps to ensure that the child care provider is a safe and loving environment may not always be the easiest task. However, taking smalls steps to demystify what happens behind closed doors can help ensure a safe and caring environment for children.

If a child is harmed due to abuse or neglect at a day care center, a parent should seek legal advice to determine the child’s legal rights and appropriate and available courses of action.   A Child Injury Lawyer can help review the relevant facts, laws in place, and practicalities of pursuing a claim or case against the day care center.  The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters 0n Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.